Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A Day in the Life of a Writer - 10/8/13

At the moment, I don't have any words of wisdom to impart, so when this happens (which will be more often than not), I'll provide a quick view into the riveting life of this part-time writer.

Most of my day is obviously spent at the day job. I currently work as an applications developer at a local university. Those who know me or who can do a little research on the internet can probably figure out which university I'm referring to, but since this is my WRITING blog, I would rather not go into details on that here. I mention it just to illustrate the fact that I have a full time job and the writing is done part-time whenever I have a chance. I also have a family, including four kids, who I spend a lot of time with, so that cuts down further on available writing time.
For those of you who have a full-time, non-writing job, have lots of family commitments, and are trying to fit writing into your schedule, it's important to remember two things.
1. You need to be very disciplined and schedule writing time in the time you do have.
2. Many times, life throws you a lot of curve balls, and that spare time can get eaten very easily. Always remember to be flexible. It also helps to be prepared to write whenever you have a few moments, so bringing a notebook and pen, tablet, laptop, recorder, or whatever other portable writing tools you can think of with you wherever you go will help you get your writing in.
I just completed a children's book writing course at the Institute of Children's Literature (ICL). I highly recommend this institution if you're looking for some great courses on writing for children where the instructors will work with you one-on-one to help you polish your writing as well as give you assistance on looking for markets for your writing. Check out  ICL's website here: http://www.institutechildrenslit.com. My instructor for the course was Clara Gillow Clark, and I would highly recommend her as an instructor as well. Knowledgeable, professional, encouraging, fun, and above all, patient – those are just some of her qualities. To apply for a course there, you first need to take a writing aptitude test.  I can't imagine anyone doing poorly on this test, but it is a requirement in order to take courses there. Once they've accepted your test, you can enroll in their Writing for Children and Teenagers beginners course, which will teach you how to write short fiction and nonfiction for children's magazines, as well as briefly touch on how to write a book for children. (My instructor for that course was Geraldine Gutfreund, another great instructor.) Once you've completed the introductory course, you can enroll in one of their advanced courses, one of which is the writing children's books course I just took.
Some projects I'm currently working on are:
1. Doing some editing on a middle-grade fantasy novel called Oliver and the Underlings while I wait for word from an agent I've submitted some pages to.
2. Working on a short story for The First Line Literary Journal. Every quarter, a new opening line is introduced and you are challenged to write a story using that line as the first line of your story. You can find details on that magazine here: http://www.thefirstline.com , if you're interested.
3. Awaiting word on the status of three short stories I submitted to the Center for Educational Testing at the University of Kansas. I figured I'd try a new market for my stories I've never tried before, and I think it would be exciting to have my stories assist in a child's educational process. If anyone would like to learn more about this market, check out their website: http://cete.ku.edu.
4. Taking a new course offered by Coursera  called Fantasy and Science Fiction: The Human Mind, Our Modern World. It looked interesting, and I'm sure it would help me with my writing. And, it's FREE. If you want to check out what free courses Coursera has to offer, check out their website: http://www.coursera.com.
That's all for now. I'll share more info on the day-to-day goings on of this writer another time.


  1. Thanks for the kind words, George. Funny, but I was thinking about taking the science fiction/fantasy course you mentioned. Maybe I will. I'm a total nut for quantum physics.

  2. The course has officially started, although the only thing they've asked me to do so far is to review some videos (which I haven't done yet - off to a good start on this one I see).